In the magazine business, the Back Page is where you'd find all the weird goofs that we couldn't fit in anywhere else. Some may call it "filler"; we prefer "a whole page to make terrible jokes that are tangentially related to the content of the mag".
We don't have (paper) pages on the internet, but we still love terrible jokes — so welcome to our semi-regular feature, Back Page. Today, Stuart examines a little pink ball's trouble with trees, or one particular tree...
Mario has Bowser. Samus has Ridley. Even Pit has Hades. But Kirby saves every last drop of his boundless disdain for… some random tree.
Why? It’s a pertinent question. Why-o-why does Kirby hate that tree so much? Seriously, what’s his problem? Every adventure, almost without fail, he refuses to even get up in the morning unless it’s specifically to kill the hell out of that unfortunate tree.
Unfortunately, Kirby’s motivation in such, like most of his behaviour, is an absolute mystery. Nonetheless it comes to us chroniclers of Nintendo minutiae to investigate this most profound and one-sided of rivalries and try to come to some kind of understanding.
Let’s start by examining the very first appearance of Whispy Woods; the ur-Woods that would go on to inform three decades of brutal violence betwixt pink blob and brown sapling. Well, snot-green sapling, we suppose, given that the original Kirby's Dream Land was released for the monochrome Game Boy handheld in late 1992...
Kirby drops into the path of this tree and immediately goes on the offensive. That said, Whispy seems to be an apple tree and many of the buggers are coming loose of his branches, falling towards Kirby and dealing damage on impact.
But can Whispy Woods reasonably be blamed for what appear to be the benign effects of gravity? We say “no” – Kirby’s response of sucking up the apples and launching them back into Whispy’s face is a ludicrous overreaction and, as far as we’re concerned, grounds for his arrest.
Whispy tries desperately to ward Kirby off by blowing air at him, but to no avail as Kirby steamrolls the poor sod, spewing its own apples at it until it’s so badly beaten and bruised that it starts crying.
You Wouldn’t Hit a Tree With Glasses, Would You?
After a near-identical showing in Kirby's Adventure, Whispy returned in 1995’s Kirby's Dream Land 2, this time sporting false glasses and a face mask in order to try and distract Kirby from the inevitable beatdown.
“Look!” he seems to cry, voiceless and desperate, “I’m some other tree!”
But it’s no good. Kirby blasts off the disguise and absolutely mullers the hapless conifer once again. While Whispy puts up more of a fight this time – self-defensive instincts see Whispy wriggling its roots until they burst forth in an attempt to spear his assailant – a fairly one-sided pattern of harm has been established.
Still think Kirby is cool?
It’s not until the Super Nintendo's Dream Land 3 in late ‘97 that Whispy Woods finally becomes mad as hell and refuses to “take this” anymore.
He wrenches his roots out of the ground, adopts a far more aggressive expression, and pursues Kirby furiously, spitting fruit and veg at him in a display of real alley-cat vigour. Unfortunately it doesn’t help, with Kirby quite simply content to return the projectiles to sender.
A valiant effort to defend itself, but Kirby comes out on top once again. Why must there be this hate?
When I’m 64
Kirby officially crosses the line in The Crystal Shards, as a centre-stage Whispy observes its three “Whispy Juniors” playing happily in a small clearing, whereupon Kirby proceeds to MURDER THEM.
Yes, he sucks up the apples that Whispy is trying to feed its family and uses them as bludgeons to KILL CHILDREN. This quite rightly gets Whispy’s back up and he puts up his most aggressive assault yet, with a shower of apples from all sides and sharp roots once again bursting from the earth below.
Can you really blame him!? What kind of monster are we dealing with, here?!?
Bring a Tank to an Apple Fight
Speaking of crossing the line, Kirby’s behaviour towards Whispy in Kirby's Epic Yarn is quite frankly overkill, because he rocks up in tank form.
The Puffball Panzer then proceeds to make apple crumble of the futile fruit-fielding Whispy. It’s actually borderline upsetting how one-sided it is. Come on, Kirby! Pick on someone your own size.
Oh, right, Whispy is about ten times bigger than you. Forgot.
After a horrific 10-on-1 drubbing with a dual-screen Whispy courtesy of Kirby Mass Attack, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Kirby would go easy on the flaming tree for a bit. Ha ha. What a joke. Of course not. His bloodlust has only just begun, as in Kirby's Return to Dream Land he marches on Whispy with a posse of Meta Knight, Dedede and Waddle Dee and proceeds to absolutely body him.
This time, though, there’s a twist – Whispy tries to beat Kirby at his own game and suck him up, growing larger in the process.
If you think it works, though, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. And it’s made out of wood.
Later still, in Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Kirby has the opportunity to put the screws to Flowery Woods, a glow-up for the ages as Whispy took the opportunity of Nintendo’s 3DS to go spectacularly multicolour, plastered in bountiful bouquets’ worth of glorious flowers.
Naturally, Kirby took this opportunity to show absolutely no mercy whatsoever, peppering the no-doubt-despairing tree with painful blows. Not to mention the eyestrain that early 3DS stereoscopic 3D gave him.
We Can Rebuild Him
After all these years of hideous abuse, Whispy had to have all his tree innards replaced with cybernetics just so stay alive. Outcome? One Clanky Woods.
Basically a mecha version of Whispy, Clanky Woods (and the later, harder Clanky Woods 2.0) are the apotheosis of Whispy’s repressed aggression. He essentially turns the arena into a deathtrap like some massive, sycamore-phic Saw movie.
But lest we forget; it was Kirby who drove Whispy Woods to this. To become something else. Something new. Something dedicated to death.
Save the Rainforest
With Kirby and the Forgotten Land launching soon, it has become obvious that even in the wake of some kind of extinction event, Kirby cannot bring himself to simply ally with Whispy Woods, who we might add is a source of unlimited food. Kirby would prefer to starve than let that tree live, you see.
It’s a huge shame, but if there’s one thing about the Kirby series that’s consistent, it’s his white-hot burning HATRED for Whispy Woods, whose sin against Kirby appears to be… quite literally nothing.
Kirby is evil, then, and we hope there’s eventually a game where Whispy gets the long awaited win against the salmon-coloured scourge.
But there won’t be. Whispy Woods exists to suffer. Ex nihilo nihil fit. Poyo!!